Editor's Comment

Zambia, Malawi should partner for mutual growth

ZAMBIA and Malawi have enjoyed good relations for a long time now and we believe this will remain so for a long time to come.
The acceptance by Malawian president, Peter Mutharika to grace this year’s 89th Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show is one of the many gems in this relationship.
The relationship can further be seen from the days of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which comprised the two countries and Zimbabwe.
Today, we still find the closeness in the relationship in the common language and names between the two countries. It is said that even some villages are on the boundary, with villagers having relatives on both sides of the frontier.
The similarity continues. The kind of crops the two countries grow are not different from each other. Both produce crops such as tobacco, maize, rice and groundnuts.
They are both landlocked countries.
All in all, we can say the two countries share a lot in common both politically and culturally.
And so, arising from this, they can co-operate in a number of areas to push for development of the region.
It is for these reasons that there is need for Zambia to take the opportunity given by Professor Mutharika to join in the development of the Shire- Zambezi waterway project which is expected to be an outlet to Mozambique’s Indian port of Chinde.
It is gratifying to learn that feasibility studies of the project have been completed and it is now up to Zambia to take up the offer which we are sure will also work to her benefit.
On his part, Prof Mutharika has welcomed plans to link Malawi to the Tanzania-Zambia Railways because of its potential to open up trade opportunities to other markets.
However, for progress to be a reality, the need for infrastructure development should be given top priority. Not that nothing is happening but there is need to enhance these efforts that have been mooted already.
Trade depends on infrastructure like roads and other facilities to flourish and where such infrastructure is absent, it is impossible to conduct trade.
It is infrastructure like the railway lines and waterways and roads that southern Africa should invest in to promote sustainable regional trade.
The region as a whole has vast natural resources which can be exploited, improved and exported to the outside to the international markets, which for now, are not easy for developing countries to penetrate.
Developing countries, in their efforts to keep away developing countries from their markets, make a lot of demands on developing country exports, which make it difficult to meet them.
But we believe that as a region, the countries can have a bigger muscle to flex in the face of developed countries and they can manage to penetrate their markets.
This is what we want to see among southern African countries – co-operation in trade – so that intra-regional trade volumes can grow to meet international demands.
Given these areas of co-operation, Zambia and Malawi have opportunities to work together and grow their relationship in the region.
The countries can be a force to reckon with if they join hands and push a common trade agenda.

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